As we both had books appear on our doorstep and were faced with promoting not just my book but our books, The Well Meaning Killer for Miranda, Dead On for moi, we asked how we might pool our resources. This after we had both launched efforts to get word out on our separate titles. But it seemed just about every time I posted something online about my book or spoke to anyone about my book, I slipped into talking about Miranda’s book, and then I noticed she was doing the same.
Each time Miranda posted about her own book, she was getting a tangled up with talking about herself in terms of being Mrs. Walker, Rob’s wife--quite often to her chagrin as she wants to make or break on the merits of her own writing and her own book. Quite under-standable for sure. But there was this joint-account, joint-custody thing happening all over anyway, so I suggested that we do a tag-team book signing or two, and so we began setting up local book signings as a His & Her book signing. We pitched it this way to the bookstores and the local press, and we got a great article in the Charleston Gazette with a half page and a large photo which we’ve been using ever since every chance.
This notion of His and Her signings I asked why not take it to the web? It seemed the logical step that Miranda and I do a series of blogs on blogtour to introduce her and her first book and my lastest at once rather than going off in separate searches for outlets. To this end, I put out a request on a number of forums for invites for a His and Her blogtour, pushing the fact you get two authors for the space of one…LOL. The camaraderie of working as partners in crime, a duo, a tag-team is great, and I have done this at signings with other authors but this is a first to do it with a family member, but why not? If your biggest fan is mom, the brother, the sister, the wife, who better to smooze the public into giving your book a reading, a try? Some authors do this as a routine, knowing that their fourteen year old daughter is their best salesman in the family for the book and it’s done with gusto and love and admiration. It also means you have someone to go to dinner with after the event is over!
The pitfalls are many, especially if you are as disorganized as I am with record-keeping and dates, or as busy with life as Miranda and I are, what with four children, jobs, housekeeping, motorcar pooling, and the like. So one major pitfall is keeping one’s head together, but as they say two heads are better than one. The pitfalls of pairing up on a blogtour can be even more difficult if you and your partner (not necessarily a wife or husband) live in separate houses. With Miranda and I, well our computers sit across from one another and we can check up on one another and save one another from some foolish misstep right then and there. If you are remote from your partner, it may have some advantages--absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that--but it can also be frustrating when you can’t get the answer you need NOW. There is an absolute necessity in keeping tabs on where you are expected to be, whose blog you were on yesterday, whose today, whose next week, etc. With Miranda and I, in so many ways, we are too much alike, and in the disorganized department--yeah, we both write reams of notes to ourselves but do we ever look at our notes? Hopefully, you or your partner will be more organized in this regard because you will get invites that will not fit into your tour schedule but are “put off” invites to blogs that are busy until Christmas or whatever, and so it goes. I never say no to any invite, but such invites have to be squirreled away and hopefully recalled when the time comes. There is nothing more embarrassing than missing a curtain call, and I have done this but usually some horrendous cause-effect, say one’s health has been the culprit. With a pairing, perhaps the partner can step in.
PAIRING at book signings in the stores can be a real boon as well - two authors for the price of one, in which case most of the time, each author promotes the other. This happens too in the virtual book tour.
The advantages of a tag-team are many, but most of all the blog reader does not have to listen to the sound of my voice alone for the duration of the blog, as you are getting here. By mixing it up, you get our voices--sometimes in harmony, sometimes in a bit of disharmony should we disagree or see things differently, depending of course, on the questions raised by an interviewer or the blog question at hand. We have tried to mix up the format as well. We’ve used straight Q&A format, switching off between his and her answers, we’ve set up in advance blog questions we both attack such as a marketing question or posture at a book signing (M’s always telling me to stand up straight! LOL), or we have done the “storied” interview, something I discovered while conducting interviews of JA Konrath, Jeff Cohen, and that cowboy author out in Missouri with the big white hat. Most recently, Miranda and I were “story” interviewed by Kaye Barley at Meanderings and Muses (http://meanderingsandmuses.blogspot.com) wherein she “met” us while on holiday and research assignment in Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks. The story interview takes on a life of its own and involves “dialogue”. So we have tried to make the tag-team interview fun and fresh with each blog we act as guests on.
Is it hard work and time consuming? You bet. Beth Groundwater gave us a lot of advice right here on ACME but it came too late for us and we made a lot of mistakes, and I see that Morgan Mandel is jumping off a tour, so I wanted to pass along what we have learned. I wish I’d done a lot more pre-planning, and I wish I had approached more blog owners for more invites, but we learn as we go, and I’m one of those guys who never, ever reads the directions before leaping into putting the toy or shelves or computer together. I pay the price, too!
Meantime, find me on Facebook, Twitter, Crimespace, Myspace (blog), and at my website www.robertwalkerbooks.com, and most recently at the Kindle Store where I have put up original, never before seen in print novels of intrigue, romance, suspense, and awesome characters with twisted minds. Find Miranda at the usual places where crime writers hang out as well and look for The Well Meaning Killer, a book that will slay you.
Miranda’s website is www.mirandawalkerbooks.com
Chow for now -- meaning I gotta get lunch!